Kütahya is to be found in western Turkey's central Anatolian Agean region. Kütahya with it's surrounding counties has a total population of 600 thousand. The famous geographer Strabon showed Kütahya among the small towns of Phrigya. The art of ceramics began in this town with the Frigs and continued with the Romans and Byzantines. Due to wars between the Sekjuk state and the Byzantines Kütahya has changed hands a number of times. In 1233 it fell to the Seljuks for the third time, after being under the rule of the Germiyanoguls, Karamanoguls it became firmly part of the Ottoman state from the time of Ottoman Sultan Murat II (1421-1451). From that date until becoming a republic, it retained it's importance as the centre of the Ottoman State's largest province developing leather, carpet and tilling handicrafts.
Kütahya central province had a population of some 50 thousand in 1950. By 2005, however, this population had reached 150,000. Agricultural products grown around Kütahya include wheat, barley, sugar beet, grapes, sour cherries and cherries. Animal breeding is also well developed (sheep, goats and cattle). Beside the nitrogen and sugar industries the ceramic and porcelain kilns and factories provide the backbone of the town's economy.
Kütahya ceramic ware has been particularly dominant in the areas of decorative tiles and two-dimensional representation. For religious reasons there was no tradition of creating statuettes and other three-dimensional objects d'art. However there are a small numbers of artisans working in the field and together they have established a school of ''naif ceramic ware'' which is highly prized by collectors.
Ömer Cesur was born in Kütahya in 1950. He is one of the leading exponents of this style of ceramic ware. His techniques have been learnt not in art schools but by serving his apprenticeship with a master by the name of Abdurrahman Usta (Özer) in 1971.
Ömer Cesur is a real public artist. His subjects are not only designed for Kütahya ceramics which have a 200 year old tradition, they are also universal.
The town of Iznik (ancient Nicea) has given its name to the pottery for which it has become wold famous. The tiles which decorate the Blue Mosque and Topkapı Palace are Iznik tiles of the 16th and early 17th century. That tradition has been revived in Iznik by EŞREF EROĞLU who was producing tiles using the same style colours and techniques used four centuries ago, until his early death in 2001.
İsmail Yiğit was born in Kütahya in 1963. He graduated from the Ceramic Department in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Marmara University and worked with several famous ceramists. Since 1988 Yiğit has researched tiles and ceramics in Turkey and abroad, especially on pottery and ceramics dated from the 16th century. Yiğit founded a workshop, and made Ottoman ceramics and prepared replica collections of Ottoman ceramics. After researching tiles used in Ottoman architectures in Istanbul, Bursa and Edirne, he started making tiles. Yiğit also restored Ottoman tiles dated from the 16th century. His tiles, which were made for restorations, display marvelous technique, especially the technique of glaze drew attention. In 1990, Yiğit founded “Marmara Ceramic Workshop”. As of today, as well as making ceramics and tiles, Yiğit teaches on ceramics at his own workshop and Dumlupınar University and contributes to raise young craftsmen.
Born in (1945) in Bursa, a provincial town not far from Istanbul, Turgut Tuna graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Istanbul. In 1971 he contributed to the foundation of a ceramic research laboratory in Kütahya, the centre of Turkish ceramic art. Since 1976 he has worked from his own atelier (workshop) in his hometown. Between 1978-1983 he taught in the Ceramic Department of Marmara University and between 1984-1988 in the ceramic department of Eski?ehir University. At the moment he teaches at Bursa University. Turgut Tuna has participated in many archaeological excaviations throughout Anatolia. Many of his works have been exhibited in foreign countries
Miniature painting was the dominant form of Turkish pictorial art until the eighteenth century. It was influenced by Islamic book illumination in which the art of calligraphy and the miniature existed side by the side. Islamic calligraphy was developed in its religious context as the medium by which the Koran was copied and therefore, became a sacred art. It was both a means of communication and a highly decorative, spiritually-infused art form. During the Ottoman Empire, the art of calligraphy attained its zenith. There is an old maxim which says that the Koran was revealed in Arabia, recited in Egypt and written in Istanbul. While Ottoman calligraphers strived to perfect their art, Ottoman miniaturists also made stylistic inroads into the classical Persian tradition which they had inherited.
In accordance with the Islamic preference for abstract representation, Persian miniature painting is characterized by its strong primary colours, emphasized contours, highly decorative surfaces devoid of tonal nuance, foreshortening and a preference for romanticism. Forms and objects from nature are abstracted to the extent that they take on unreal characteristics-skies are rendered in gold, rocks in pink, clouds in coloured whorls; grass is perfectly sprinkled with symmetrical rows of blossoms. It is a world of pattern and colour in which the human figure is subjected to strict hieratic convention, seemingly subordinate to the profusion of ornamentation.
Although depiction of the human form is not expressly prohibited in the Koran, the Hadiths (traditions and sayings of the Prophet Mohammed) discouraged it. God's creation of man was the ultimate art form, a perfectionism not to be challenged by mortal hands. Hence, any rendering of the human form was highly abstracted and conventionalized. While the human figure was depicted in miniature painting, its distinct absence in monumental art served to discourage idolatrous tendencies, anathema in Islam. Nonetheless, beginning with Fatih Mehmet II and his conquest of Istanbul in 1453, European painters were regularly invited to the Ottoman court in order to paint the Sultan's portrait.
Under the Ottoman Empire, miniature painting acquired a particularly Turkish style. At the court, all artists involved in the production of an illuminated manuscript constituted a workshop, the nakkaşhane, which was under the direction of a single master.
Yakup Cem was born in Tabriz, Iran, in 1948. While still in primary school, he showed unusual skill in classical miniature painting and was advised to continue. At the age of thirteen, he joined a locally prestigious miniature competition and won first prize, a tradition he continued in subsequent years. In1996, he was invited to Tehran by the Minister of Education and was given a grant study with the painter, Huseyin Islamiyan. It is a testament to Mr. Cem's artistic talent that, without any formal training, he became an accomplished and successful painter both in the miniature and in the western tradition.
Taner Alakuş was born in 1966 in Ankara, Turkey . He gained his Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees from the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Mimar Sinan between 1982 and 1986 where he studied illumination under Dr. Tahsin Aykutalp and miniature painting under Yakut Cem. He now teaches both genres in the Department of Traditional Turkish
Arts at Mimar Sinan. Taner has exhibited his work in joint and solo exhibitions and his paintings are held in collections in around the world.
Born in Burdur in 1939, Şükrü Çağlayan graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1961 and then began his career as an Air Force officer. Throughout his career he continued to draw in charcoal and paint in watercolours and oils, a hobby he had aquired on his own from a very young age. Many of his paintings and posters from his period deal with his professional life in the Air Force.
Born in Inegöl in 1937, died in Istanbul in 2004. He studied technical engineering in Istanbul. He took painting lessons from Nurettin Akbulut between 1951-1954. Having practiced art in different cities of Germany and France until 1970, in 1971 he exhibited his work in five different art galleries in Istanbul. Until now he has taken part in various other exhibitions in Turkey and abroad.
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